I called Rudy (his soulmate) the other night to check-in and within no time we were both sobbing in an endless stage of mourning. It’s been three years since he passed and I just don’t think I’ll ever get over it. No contest, he was the absolute coolest person I’ve ever met. I was camera woman for the Coca Crystal TV Show and he came on to promote his new art show, “Life, Love, Death, and Elvis”. I was in my Jim Morrison is God stage, and he told me he was roommates with Jim in California. I was sold.
I went to his show at the Westbeth Gallery and it was divided into rooms. There was a room for Life was bright with plants and sculpture. The room for love was romantic with rose petals and hearts and a painting. The room for death was dark and had dirt with the feel of a coffin. The Elvis was my favorite part as he showcased a famous drag queen to sing Viva Las Vegas. Sammy from the band Donovan performed his music and we were treated to the groupie poet, Cherry Vanilla. After the show, he took us all to Times Square (back when it was still seedy) to a hidden transvestite bar and got my just under-age self pickled. I remember drunkenly rambling on how he opened my eyes to art, life, love, death, and Elvis. He saw something in me that clicked. And we were best friends from then on.
At the time we were close his specialty (after his art) was throwing parties. And magnificent they were! Their apartment in itself was gorgeous enough to give tours of. But the guest list dwarfed all. Terry. knew. everyone. There were never over the top celebs but the people you actually want to talk to (the designers, the filmmakers, the writers). When the Pope visited NYC, Terry ran into his official photographer somewhere in midtown and the poor man just fell in love with Terry instantly. He painted a beautiful picture of Terry and as thanks, Terry threw him a party. I met a sculptor who was a woman but had to dress as a man (monk) in order to sculpt in the Vatican. Another party was given for his friend who was one of the original creators of Sesame Street and her Emmy was the table centerpiece. At that party I met the woman who designed clothing in the 60s for Jimi Hendrix and the like. I might have been born a generation too late, but these parties were my gift from Terry. Everyone loved me because I wanted to hear every single story they had to tell.
To give some Terry history: In 1965, he was the first DJ to spin two records at once, changing the way we listen to music ever since. His life has been one for the books. He’s featured in the book “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” and there’s a fantastic article on DJHistory.com with many of his best stories. He was roommates with Jim, hung out with the Beatles, knew Hendrix, Joplin, Buffalo Springfield, Jefferson Airplane, Andy Warhol, and the list goes on and on. At his very core he was a music fiend just like me. He would play me songs for hours and to this day I can’t hear a Nine Inch Nails song without thinking of him screaming their lyrics in his living room.
I am so thankful I had the time with him that I did and we loved each other as soul friends do.